DOLE Sec. Silvestre Bello (Photo by Benjie Cuaresma)
By Rjhay E. Laurea
MANILA — Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte has expressed full support for the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) investigation on the alleged irregularities in the agency’s distribution of benefits under the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program in Quezon City’s second district.
“Suportado natin ang plano ng DOLE na imbestigahan ang umano’y anomalyang ito. Dapat mapapanagot ang utak sa likod ng panlolokong ito sa ating mga residente (We support DOLE’s plan to investigate the alleged anomalies. The perpetrators of this fraud against our residents should be held accountable),” Mayor Belmonte said.
“Kung kumpirmado, nakalulungkot ang pangyayaring ito dahil marami sa ating mga residente ang nawalan ng karampatang benepisyo na malaki sana ang maitutulong ngayong panahon ng pandemya (This is a sad incident if proven true because many of our residents were deprived of their benefits that can help them a lot during this pandemic),” she added.
Belmonte made the pronouncement following the DOLE’s decision to suspend the implementation of its cash assistance program for displaced workers when reports about the anomaly surfaced.
Labor Secretary Silvestre “Bebot” Bello III also ordered DOLE National Capital Region director Sara Buena Mirasol to look into the complaints lodged by some beneficiaries from Barangay Holy Spirit.
Instead of receiving P7,518 each, the complainants claimed they were only given P2,000. Based on reports, a coordinator of the program said she was instructed to accompany the beneficiaries to a remittance center and deduct P5,518 from their cash assistance.
Belmonte said aside from the DOLE, other agencies should also conduct investigations into this alleged anomaly, particularly the Presidential Anti-Graft Commission, Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission and the Commission on Audit.
“We need to get to the bottom of this because our residents have been shortchanged here,” Belmonte added.
The Quezon City government has its own TUPAD program for the hiring of hundreds of contact tracers who help the local government in its campaign to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the communities. (ai/mtvn)